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5 Virtual Reality Jobs that Pay the Most

The Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty job mar­ket is about to explode.  With the recent intro­duc­tion of the Ocu­lus Rift and Microsoft Hololens two of the largest com­pa­nies in the world have begun to stake their claims in the newest high growth market.

Tech­nol­o­gy gen­er­al­ly directs how we live our lives in mod­ern times. Microwave ovens changed how we eat, cable tele­vi­sion changed how we spend much of our free time and con­sume news, and smart­phones have changed how we com­mu­ni­cate and, frankly, how we do almost every­thing. This trend will con­tin­ue to accel­er­ate as we become more and more tech­no­log­i­cal­ly advanced in the world, and the fron­tier which is set to pro­vide the next huge evo­lu­tion in civ­i­liza­tion is undoubt­ed­ly vir­tu­al real­i­ty.

Vir­tu­al real­i­ty can be sim­ply defined as ‘near real­i­ty’ or ‘almost real­i­ty’, an emu­la­tion of real­i­ty based in tech­no­log­i­cal con­structs. We think of real­i­ty as being made up of what our sens­es can detect, but in truth there are more than just the five sens­es we nor­mal­ly think of. For instance, we have a sense of bal­ance. This ‘sense’ can’t be square­ly placed under the head­ing of sight, touch, sound, smell, or taste.

This some­what vague idea of our sens­es can be applied to vir­tu­al real­i­ty as well. We may not be able to smell or taste some­thing in a vir­tu­al real­i­ty expe­ri­ence, but we can trick our brains into think­ing that we do. This is real­ly the ulti­mate goal of vir­tu­al real­i­ty, to devel­op tech­nol­o­gy which can immerse us in an expe­ri­ence that we per­ceive as real even though that expe­ri­ence would­n’t fall under the the tra­di­tion­al def­i­n­i­tion of reality.

Virtual Reality Gaming

Gam­ing is at the fore­front of the vir­tu­al real­i­ty move­ment. First we had board games, then two-dimen­sion­al video games, and today we have 3D games that make us feel like we’re part of the action. The next step, already in progress, is true 3D games that put us into the game. Turn your head, you see what’s around you (in the game). Reach out with your arm (your real arm) and you can pick up what’s in front of you (in the game).

The endgame of vir­tu­al real­i­ty tech­nol­o­gy is most eas­i­ly visu­al­ized in the Holodeck from the Star Trek TV series. The entire space around you is trans­formed into a vir­tu­al envi­ron­ment, com­plete with arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence that inter­acts with you on the fly, just like the real world.

This is where we’re going, and the advances to get there are in progress. That makes careers involved in vir­tu­al real­i­ty a hot com­mod­i­ty. If you’re look­ing for a career with a future, then look to where the future is going. Jobs in the vir­tu­al real­i­ty field nat­u­ral­ly pay well because of this.

Below are five of the best pay­ing vir­tu­al real­i­ty jobs. Because the field is rel­a­tive­ly new and grow­ing quick­ly, the salary ranges can vary quite a bit based on the com­pa­ny, the loca­tion, and oth­er fac­tors. Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, how­ev­er, a posi­tion with an estab­lished (or well-fund­ed) com­pa­ny for any of these will start in the $75–80K range and extend up to around the $200K range. If you’ve got the chops, expect to be in or near six figures.

1. Programmer/Developer — The dif­fer­ence in these is real­ly one of degree. A pro­gram­mer is com­pe­tent in writ­ing code, but most­ly just com­pletes tasks. A devel­op­er has cod­ing abil­i­ties but also the skills to work out the route to take to get from A to B in design­ing software.

2. Soft­ware Engi­neer — Soft­ware engi­neers are essen­tial­ly devel­op­ers who can see the big­ger pic­ture and have a broad­er skill set. They plan the jour­ney, fore­see the bumps in the road, com­mu­ni­cate with oth­er involved par­ties, and nav­i­gate the route from begin­ning to end.

3. Machine Learn­ing Spe­cial­ist — Machine learn­ing is the sci­ence and art of writ­ing algo­rithms that allow soft­ware to learn. Basi­cal­ly, it’s the build­ing blocks of arti­fi­cial intelligence.

4. Data Engineer/Data Archi­tect — Soft­ware works by access­ing and deliv­er­ing tons of stored and sort­ed data. The data engi­neer gath­ers and sorts all of the data to cre­ate the data­bas­es for the soft­ware to access.

5. Data Scientist/Data Ana­lyst — These are big thinkers and sharp ana­lysts that can take the data that’s been gath­ered and draw insights from it. They ask the right ques­tions, find the answers to those ques­tions, and then com­mu­ni­cate those answers to the organization.

image cour­tesy of  Bil­let­to Edi­to­r­i­al on Unsplash

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